Skip navigation

The Cultural Center

panoramic view of campus buildings with The Cultural Center wording across bottom

regional student social justice leadership summit


CO-LEADS name title, spealling out COlorado Leadership for Equity, Advocacy and Discovering Social Justice
COLEADS program compass artwork


Friday, October 20, 2017

at the Auraria Higher Education Campus, downtown Denver

what | theme | keynote presenter | schedule | workshops | location | registration | volunteer | past | questions

What is CO-LEADS?

This annual leadership summit brings together college students from across Colorado to join in discussions of social justice, activism, advocacy, and social change. Students participate in a day of interactive workshops, speakers and networking sessions that challenge, grow, inspire and empower them to make change in their own lives and their communities.

CO-LEADS was established in 2009 by a group of individuals on the Auraria and DU campuses as a way to build intercampus connections and to bridge discussions of leadership and social justice in a meaningful way. The 2017 Summit is co-sponsored by the Colorado School of Mines, Community College of Denver, the Iliff School of Theology, Metropolitan State University of Denver and the University of Colorado Denver.

Theme & Goals

For 2017, we engage Resist, Persist & Sustain: When to Light the Torch, and When to Pass It Along . Our keynote and workshops explore long-term activism, sustaining activism while avoiding burn-out, and recognizing when to pass the torch to fellow activists.

By actively participating in CO-LEADS, students:

  • Explore long-term activism
  • Connect with students from their own and other Colorado campuses, creating a larger network for collaboration and change making; and
  • Engage a wide range of opportunities available to make positive change in our society.

Specifically, every participant will:

  1. Deepen their understanding of their own and others’ identities, and of the intersections of these experiences
  2. Consider ways in which they can participate and share in long-term, sustainable activism
  3. Leave each session, and the day overall, with action commitments for positive change on their campus and in their community

Keynote Presenter

Our 2017 keynote speaker is Mandy Carter, a US black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activist. Carter is co-founder of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), and sits on the board and/or advisory committees of Durham's Ladyslipper Music, Equality Michigan, Vermont-based Kopkind Colony, and Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance. Carter was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, inducted into the International Federation of Black Prides' Black LGBT Hall of Fame in 2012, and is the recipient of numerous awards. Full bio here.


The schedule includes a common workshop for all participants, and breakout workshops by peers, colleagues and community members. The day-of program will detail these for attendees.

To propose a breakout session workshop you'd like to present at CO-LEADS, please visit our Proposals page here. Submission deadline is 10am Friday, 22 September 2017.


The Summit ran 8.30am - 4pm on Friday, October 20, 2017. Specifically,

8:30-9:00: Registration

9:00-9:30: Opening and welcome

9:30-11:00: Keynote address, and Q and A, with Mandy Carter

11:15-12:30: Morning breakout workshops

12:30-1:30: Lunch

1:30-2:45: Afternoon breakout workshops

3:00-4:00: Self-care and follow-up


CO-LEADS takes place on the Auraria Higher Education Campus in downtown Denver. The campus is served by multiple bus (nearest routes 1, 8, 15, 16, 20, 30L, 36L) and light rail lines (nearest station = Colfax at Auraria). Hourly/daily rate visitor parking is also available.

We begin and end in the Tivoli Student Center (900 Auraria Parkway, Denver 80204), and will hold workshop sessions there and/or in the classroom buildings next door. All facilities are ADA-accessible.


Participation is FREE. On-line registration is now CLOSED. On-site registration will be available at the event.

Breakfast, lunch and all conference materials and sessions are included. We strive to make CO-LEADS accessible to all interested by providing for a wide range of diets and abilities.

GROUPS: Interested in bringing a group of students from your institution? We encourage campus teams to attend, and can work with staff/faculty/advisors to coordinate attendance. (A separate initial registration will still need to be completed for each attendee.) Contact us via Questions, below.


Previous CO-LEADS participants are invited to take a greater role in shaping this year's summit, by serving in one or more of roles below.

  • Planning Committee member: An immediate way to enact your CO-LEADS and other learnings, is to help shape future CO-LEADS events for future participants. The committee meets all year long at the Auraria campus, and can make arrangements for joining by phone/video for those unable to physically join us.
  • Common Workshop Co-Facilitator: We hope to provide more experienced students the opportunity to co-present the common workshop (e.g., Privilege Beads in past years), with a Planning Committee professional member. If selected, you would have to attend a training session (TBD). TO APPLY: You'll be asked to submit a one-page description of why you want to facilitate, what you got out of previous common workshops, and what you would add to the discussion, along with your your name, and what year(s) you attended CO-LEADS.
  • Program Selection Committee: Did you love the workshops at previous CO-LEADS... but maybe some more than others? Did you feel like there was a topic or type of activity not included? Be part of the team that chooses the workshops for the conference. Your feedback as a previous participant is invaluable in determining which workshops should return and which new ones we should add this year. You'd join the Committee in September to review and discuss proposals. TO APPLY: You'll submit a ½-to-one page description of why you want to be on the committee and what you would add to the discussion, along with your name, and what year(s) you attended CO-LEADS.
  • Day-of Summit Staff: We'll also need help on the day of the conference with set-up/breakdown, registration or other logistics.

If you are interested in any of these roles, please contact us care of Steve Willich.


It is important to remember our history, both to honor the work of those before us, and to inform our actions moving forward. Click an annual theme below to open a PDF copy of the program/poster.

Questions? including day of...

Join us on Facebook for the latest updates on workshops, registration and more.

Please contact the CO-LEADS Planning Committee in care of Steve Willich with additional questions.